Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Heros & what makes them & who sticks with you

This question has been pinging around my brain. Really, what makes a man make us sit up and take notice. A man that doesn't even exist outside of a writer's imagination? What is it that makes us long for this certain man to be real, to exist side by side with us in our world?
I like to think it's more than a handsome face and buff body. Those things are nice, but kind of like eating icing without the cake. There's always something missing. I know when I write my heroes I create them with flaws. Short temper, stubborn sense of always being right or the naive belief they don't need anyone in their life. Flaws, I think, create the character, ads layers and depth to an otherwise one dimensional piece of fiction. 
A few traits I've noticed over and over again have made me think these are what draws us in as readers and women. The first is dependability. A man you can count on when the world's exploding around you, a vampire is about to rip out your throat or a Regency baron is about to slice your head off with a sword. No matter the time period, the setting or the general genre men with the ability to come through are a turn on. The foster sense of trust and safety that aren't easily found in reality.
The second thing I've noticed is a sense on honor. You know what I mean. The highway man that refuses to allow a child to be beaten. Or a cop that rescues an abandoned dog on the side of the highway. The werewolf that refuses to release his beast on the innocent.
Third is loyalty which I guess could be the same as being dependable, but not quite the same. The perfect or the memorable hero has loyalty in spades. A code of conduct that cannot be broken. He's there for his friends, family and anyone he persevere as being weaker than him. Not to mention fidelity to his chosen lady. Is anything sexier than that?
So that's my opinion on the top three qualities on what makes a remarkable hero. As well as what goes into being a male character in one of my books. And yeah a hot body and sexy face don't hurt either.
What male characters have stuck in my mind after the fact?
Well I'm still waiting for Stephanie to pick Ranger over Joe. 
Yeah, I know people will be throwing popcorn and more at me for saying that, but I can't help it. I'm Plum fan now and chewing my nails waiting for Stephanie to get together with Ranger. Why not?
He's hot, he's always protecting her. Hell, he's never said a word about all the cars she's blown up or destroyed. It takes a strong man to keep his mouth closed when hundred thousand dollar cars are flattened. Not to mention watching her walk away every night.

Joe never asks. He's never really there for her other than sex and clean laundry. I won't even go into scary Grandma Bella. Freaky deaky!!

All away.

Done yet? Look it's not like I don't get the Joe attraction. Joe is tall, dark and sexy. He's great in bed, he doesn't expect her to cook and he loves his dog. What's not to love? But he leaves me feeling a bit on the lonely side. He's never there for her. He pretty much just shakes his head and goes on his way.

Only two imaginary male characters have ever grab me by the throat. The first is Roarke by J.D. Robb. The second just happens to be Ranger. Strong, confident powerful men are who love completely are the sexiest thing I've ever seen. That's what makes them so popular with readers the world over. Fictional characters with real world attributes.

I only hope my heroes have part of the soul of those two men. Because they are what makes writing so much fun.

I look forward to hearing the comments. Just play nice with the language. I damage easily.


Jen B. said...

One of the things I like in a hero is when he recognizes his weakness and admits it. Afterall, even super duper heros have a weak spot! I like it when an author is able to take a so-so hero and turn him into something great. I haven't read the Plum books yet but they are on my bookshelf (yes, the whole series). I plan to start this summer.

Anonymous said...

You won't get any fire from me. I've always been team Ranger! He's the strong, silent, uber sexy man that draws you in. And no matter what craziness Stephanie finds herself in, he there always there for her. Always! No matter how many cars she's blown up.

One of my all-time favorite heroes is Acheron of the Dark Hunter series. He's not physically described as the hunk of all time, but beyond the physical, he is an incredible man. Umm...immortal might be a better word. For someone who's been through torture, lies, betrayal and well, just a crap shoot of life, he came out a man still capable of love and compassion for others. I'm so not doing him justice right now, but needless to say, he is a hero that will always stick with me.


Allie Standifer said...

Jen, I didn't get into the Plum series until last year. Then I couldn't get enough of them. I do like having heroes with flaws. It makes him real.
Elece, Acheron is a hot alpha hero and yeah I love him to. There's just something about strong men with a weakness for non-perfect women :)

Harlie Williams said...

I've always wondered why Plum isn't with Ranger? He's much better for her.

Roarke......enuff said......

Thanks Allie for the post and now I'm not worth a crap anymore at work.

Allie Standifer said...

Harlie, you know I live to please :) Maybe we can re-write the Stephaine/Ranger saga & make it turn out our way!

Harlie Williams said...

Is that a challenge?

Harlie Williams said...

BTW the way, I'm home now and I got looks all afternoon.........

Allie Standifer said...

I'm always up for a challenge. Should I say sorry for the weird looks you got?

Harlie Williams said...

Not necessary. I just stared into space all afternoon thinking of him and how flawed he was and how Eve loved him no matter what. **deep sigh** And how he loved her.

Tess MacKall said...

It's what's beneath that buff veneer that makes the hero. Pretty boys are nice, but if a writer doesn't give them the right personality traits to co-exist with the heroine, the magic just isn't there.

Great subject!